A Birthday Letter to the Preemie

Luke is 8 today. And with that sentence comes all the feels. If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know that he’s our miracle preemie, with a serious backstory.

He’s getting older, though. His story is becoming less mine, and more his. That’s another blog post for another day. Today? Well, we celebrate all the awesome that is Luke. This year’s birthday letter, comin’ at ya.

Dear Luke,

You are one cool kid. Not cute, as you remind me daily, but cool. You started second grade this fall and you’re *pretty* excited to have your own desk, enjoy art as one of your specials and spike up your hair every morning.

I’m seeing a budding comedian in you. Perhaps it’s because you want everyone to see you, not your small stature, but you. If I could take away all the terrible horrible you had to endure as an infant and replace it with smooth sailing, I would. But I can’t. So rather than lament about all that crazy, I hope you continue to see and know the miracle you really are. And if it comes in the form of bathroom humor jokes or arm farts, then so be it.

How did you get to be so good at math? And reading? Man, you do not know the hours I spent praying that school subjects would not be a struggle for you. You’re still a perfectionist {mom, looks around wondering where you got it from} and all the things have to be “just so.” We’re working on helping you cope when they aren’t perfect. It’s a process and I firmly believe we will get there.

You have the cutest (sorry, but it’s true) giggle. Sometimes your dad and I say things to you just so we can hear it. The sound of your laughter sometimes makes me cry. But in the very best of ways.

Your favorite meal is steak and mashed potatoes. When dad makes an entire bowl of potatoes we worry it won’t be enough. We’re often right. You still hate milk, but you love it with chocolate. I mean, who wouldn’t?

I love that you are a fierce friend and a fiesty kid who still likes to hop in my lap and snuggle. At 35 pounds, I realize that’s a gift that I may not have much longer.

There isn’t a DudePerfect video you haven’t watched or a Cars movie you haven’t recited. While you may not be able to play contact sports, it certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t a lover of all things fast and furious. I’m thinking we might try swimming this winter with you. This summer you rocked swim class and that totally blew me away.

While your challenges lie just beneath the surface, far from the observation of the rest of the world, everyone in our house knows how hard you work. How funny you really are. How far you’ve really come.

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t look at you, then look heavenward, and whisper, “thank you, God.” Thank you for letting us keep Luke a little longer, even though we know you would take good care of him. It’s a beautifully hard thing, Luke, letting you grow up. I’m a little more cautious, a little more worried, a little more apprehensive when you try to spread your wings. But, every day you show me just how much you can do. Just how much you’re going to change the world.

When I say it’s a privilege to be your mom, well, that’s the understatement of the year.

Happy 8th big man. Let’s go make it great.




  1. Karen Webb on September 18, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Good Morning! Congratulations on your preemie turning 8 and running a 5K (totally different muscles that Pure Barre?).

    I notice the pure joy that you have when you speak about your relationships with your children. I am hoping for some advice as to how maintain that joy and awe in the day to day with the difficulties of raising children?

    Karen Webb – mom of 4 – 10; 7 year old boy girl twins; and 5 year old

    • Kathryn on September 29, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      My knee says YES. Ha! Ah, there is pure joy, but there is also pure frustration. Parenthood, right? You see the highlight reel here. We have our moments of tenacious children and stubborn parents. On the days when I’m feeling like I’m failing at it all, I retreat to my closet to pray. Sometimes with a Dos Equis. And, I have beautiful friends on speed dial that I know I can vent to, lean on and ask to lift me up. With all those kids under 10, you are most definitely in the trenches. Hang in there mama. The days get easier, physically, and then you lean heavily on God as He asks you to be present emotionally for your children.

      • Karen on October 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

        Good Morning! Thank you for your words of support. I realize that it is a highlight reel; I hope I am not the cause of your introspection for the last week. I just remain awed by your ability to see the positive and not focus on the needed growth and was hoping for some tips in that area. I am also curious how you develop such great friendships with those who share your beliefs. We are at a Catholic school and still sometimes I feel I am stuck in the high school popularity game. . . God bless you – and thank you for sharing. Karen

        • Kathryn on October 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

          The introspection was something completely different than that. Promise! For me, finding my groove, my positivity and my abiding friendships have come through prayer, time, persistence and patience. While I have lots of friends, I typically don’t share the hard and deep stuff except with just a few of them. For me, that has allowed me to go deep, with a handful of friends I trust immensely and it is one of my biggest life blessings. As for that popularity game, I totally get it. And, I think in the early days I spent way too much time playing it. I just didn’t trust and believe in myself enough. Then, I had a preemie and another baby in my 40s and that all changed. Perspective, right? Hang in there mama.

  2. Madeline Dudziak on September 18, 2017 at 8:19 am

    8 just seems so big. Like that’s almost nearly a ten-year-old trip! Gah! Happy birthday Luke!! Question, my guy is really tiny, not quite Luke tiny but super duper slim tiny. Where did you find uniform pants that both meet the requirements and stay up?

    • Kathryn on September 29, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      I know!!! He’s already talking about his trip. I get elastic pants/shorts and my BFF is a safety pin.

  3. Rebecca Tovar on September 18, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Happy Birthday Luke🎂
    Love Tovar Family 😎

  4. Jenny on September 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Master Luke! Tell your mom and dad you want to celebrate with some pond fishing and 4-wheeler riding in Oklahoma!

  5. Denise Droese on September 19, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Happy Birthday, Luke. I love your mommy and daddy so I know I would love you , too

  6. Mallory on September 22, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Congratulations Luke!!! Happy birthday!
    Will he be celebrating his First Holy Communion soon?

    • Kathryn on September 29, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      YES! Next spring. Bring on the Kleenex!

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